Do You Fully Understand the Cloud?

In just the past few years, it has become evident that the topic of cloud computing has shifted from a potential game changer to an essential ingredient of modern IT. For those moving down the path of business transformation, the cloud is the primary driver. The International Data Corporation estimates the public cloud market to grow at 23% CAGR through 2018, and they estimate that worldwide spending on hosted private cloud services will exceed $24 billion by 2016. If your organization is not implementing the cloud, you’re already behind. Just the Beginning Even though adoption rates are high, there is still a lot of confusion related to cloud computing. 28% of survey respondents did not know whether their business used a private or public cloud model, which demonstrates the confusion over terminology or lack thereof. Previous eras of IT have lasted for over 20 years; so, after five years, the era of cloud computing is just getting started. CompTIA predicts the next decade will see cloud computing becoming even more accepted as a foundational building block. Cloud Options After these initial five years of cloud computing, the industry is no longer talking generally about the cloud market. Many companies are considering public cloud, private cloud, and hybrid cloud options.  Software as a Service, Infrastructure as a Service, and Platform as a Service change the way that businesses buy IT goods and services. With many businesses shifting their computing infrastructure to the Cloud, companies continue to take advantage of the flexibility and simpler way of managing their applications and data.  If your organization needs guidance learning more about the cloud,...

Bright Outlook for Cloud Computing

According to CompTIA’s IT Industry Outlook 2014, cloud computing is even more on the rise since last year. As Generation Y (20-34 years old) infiltrates the work force and members of the Baby Boomer generation reach retirement age, there have been noticeable changes to how technology is used in the workplace. With this shift comes an inevitable increase in cloud computing: “Companies are relying on cloud computing for business processes such as storage (59%), business continuity/disaster recovery (48%), and security (44%)” (CompTIA: IT Industry Outlook 2014). The three models for cloud systems – Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – have all steadily increased year after year, especially among medium-sized businesses. All data points suggest cloud computing is a popular option for business of any size. Are you up to speed on adopting the cloud into your business? How to Leverage Cloud Computing These three main cloud solutions – Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – can leverage your IT business substantially. SaaS provides a way to deliver software and technical services that would otherwise be very costly. Most small businesses can adopt cloud computing into their company only using SaaS services. PaaS allows businesses to create custom apps, databases, and other business services all integrated into one platform. IaaS allows businesses to purchase infrastructure from providers as virtual resources. Which model best fits your business? Advantage of Cloud Computing There are multiple advantages to adopting cloud computing into your IT business, the biggest benefit being the ability to...

Can You Survive a Network Security Attack

Businesses are under constant attack from a variety of network security threats.  Cybercriminals hack databases for passwords for unauthorized access to your network.  Undetected Malicious software (malware) can trap and forward passwords. Viruses can infect your hard drive and destroy application data and files without your knowledge. Businesses large and small face these network security threats on a daily basis; larger organizations, however, may have more resources to fight attacks.  Small businesses may be more vulnerable to downtime and loss of productivity because of thinner margins and resources. Here are a few steps you can take to survive a network security attack. Prevent Network Security Attacks Before they Occur Protect your network by making sure all devices are in compliance with the latest anti-virus and malware updates. Ensure your operating system (O/S) patches are up to date. Protect your network with strong passwords and require your employees to change them regularly.  Discourage writing passwords down, and make sure employees are aware of the risks of a network security attack. Lock Down your Mobile Devices Mobile devices including smartphones and tablets are particularly vulnerable to theft and loss. Passwords on these devices can be easily cracked leaving your applications and data vulnerable to unauthorized access. Train your employees to report theft or loss of mobile devices quickly, and make sure that all data on the device is encrypted.  Having the ability to track and wipe data from these devices is another option to ensure you can survive a network security threat. Backup Your Data Online Backup and Cloud Backup are affordable options to have quick access to applications and data...

Avoiding Downtime by Having a Business Continuity Plan

Companies small and large are increasingly reliant on their IT systems and infrastructure. Having a Business Continuity plan is a proactive way of avoiding unnecessary downtime due to a disaster, human error, or security breach. Not only may downtime cause data loss, but also according to Gartner Research, a conservative estimate of the  cost of downtime for a computer network is $42,000 per hour. For a small business without a Business Continuity plan, such downtime could have long-term crippling implications. In case of natural disasters or IT outages, it is important to be able to calculate risks and financial losses caused by downtime in order to best allocate IT resources to get your business back online quickly. Below are suggestions for putting downtime for your computer network in perspective. Downtime of your Computer Network and Your Business Continuity Plan There are many factors that contribute to losses caused by downtime. These factors include employee productivity, financial losses, fines, legal fees, loss of revenue, and loss of goodwill. Whether it is inventory sitting on trucks, invoices that don’t go out, or cash registers that stop ringing, it is important to understand which applications and data are most important to bring back quickly. By identifying the systems that are most important to keeping your doors open, you will quickly realize where the highest risk of downtime is in your business.  Also note that losing sensitive data, such as credit card information, may attract heavy fines and loss of reputation in addition to lost revenue. How to Avoid Downtime With Your Business Continuity Plan To avoid the disastrous effects that downtime can...

Do you Have a Strategy for Online Backup?

Online Backup is one of the more popular deployments of cloud computing. Online backup can be a cost effective part of your data protection strategy. Many businesses have achieved benefits by leveraging cloud computing for secure and affordable remote data storage and cloud file sharing technologies.  In some cases, business owners do not even realize they are using Cloud Based Online Backup services.  For business owners there are a number of important considerations for your Online backup strategy. Industry and Regulatory Compliance Some industries, such as health services, have strict regulations on how data is managed and protected.  Some online backup vendors comply with these strict requirements, while others do not.  It is important to carefully select your online backup supplier and ensure their Service Level Agreements (SLA) meets your business needs and comply with your industry regulations. Online Backup Recovery Time Online backup can be a secure and affordable option for offsite data storage and cloud sharing capability.  If you are considering remote backup for your business continuity and disaster recovery plans, it is important to consider recovery times in the event you need to to restore your data.  Some online backup services provide great value for easy access to data, while other services are optimized for rapid recovery of your most critical information.  You should weigh costs and risks when deploying online backup for your disaster recovery scenarios. How Secure is Your Online Backup There are many online backup vendors providing a secure solution that is equally or more reliable that tape storage or other data vaulting solutions.  In fact, the cloud infrastructure for your data may...
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